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Afghanistan’s Western-backed government was swept from power on Sunday after Taliban militants captured Kabul. The capital’s collapse came less than two weeks after the militants began a push for Afghanistan’s major cities, and just over four months after Washington announced that it would be withdrawing from the war-torn country.
Afghanistan under the Taliban will not have a democratic system of government as the latter is understood in many countries, and could be governed by a ruling council, with the group’s supreme commander, Haibatullah Akhundzada, likely to remain in overall control, Waheedullah Hashimi, a senior member of the Sunni militia group, has said.
“There will be no democratic system at all because it does not have any base in our country,” Hashimi told Reuters. “We will not discuss what type of poiltical system we should apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It is Sharia law and that is it,” the official added.
According to Hashimi, one of Akhundzada’s three deputies may formally take up the role of ‘president’, with discussions on governance issues to take place later this week.
© AFP 2021 / Pakistan Foreign Ministry
The Taliban’s three deputy leaders include Mawlavi Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, the group’s former supreme leader, as well as Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the group’s political office in Doha and one of the Taliban’s most senior members. Sirajuddin Haqqani, chief of the militant Haqqani insurgent network, rounds out the triumvirate of deputy leaders.
Taliban Wants New Recruits From Old Army
The official further indicated that the Taliban would discuss the creation of a new national military, with former government soldiers and military pilots to be allowed to join. “Of course we will have some changes, to have some reforms in the army, but still we need them and will call them to join us.”
Hashimi said that the Taliban has already established contact “with many pilots” in the wake of the group’s seizure of dozens of military aircraft, and “asked them to come and join, join their brothers, their government.”
The Western-sponsored government of Afghanistan collapsed on Sunday, just over four months after the Biden administration confirmed that it would be pulling US forces out of the 19+ year conflict.
President Biden admitted Monday that the Kabul government’s “rapid” collapse “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.” In the weeks leading up to the collapse, Biden and other US officials assured that the Afghan forces would be able to stand up to the Taliban on their own, given their supposed superiority in numbers, training and equipment.